Fixed rates are latest in college tuition plans

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By AP

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Updated: Mon, 23 Dec 2013 11:15:44 EST

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Freshmen at Wisconsin's Northland College will pay no more than $30,450 in tuition next year. They'll pay the same the following year. And the year after that.

The small liberal arts college known for its environmental focus is joining a growing number of schools promising fixed-rate tuition — a guarantee that students will pay a single rate for four or even five years.

The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators says about 320 colleges and universities offered guarantees during the 2012-13 school year.

The programs aren't discounts. Students sometimes pay more than standard tuition in their first two years to offset lower rates in the last two.

But students say the programs help control costs by allowing them to budget wisely and borrow less.

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